A young Ukrainian tennis player whose training base was bombed caused the first big shock of the US Open by winning her match against the seventh seed of the competition.
Daria Snigur beat Romania’s Simona Halep 6-2 0-6 6-4 in what was by far the biggest result of her senior career so far.
Bursting into tears, the 20-year-old Kyiv formed a heart with her hands around a ribbon in the colors of the Ukrainian flag after her victory.
“It means Ukraine is always in my heart,” she said. “It’s a victory for Ukraine, for all the Ukrainian people, for my family, for my team.”
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Monday’s competition also saw Serena Williams defeated Danka Kovinic of Montenegro with a 6-3 6-3 triumph.
The 40-year-old announced earlier this month that this tournament would most likely be her last, ending a 27-year career that has seen her transcend tennis.
Addressing the crowd, Williams said: “First of all, thank you, I didn’t expect any of this. When I go out on the pitch I just want to do my best. The crowd was crazy. They really helped pull me through.”
“Sometimes it is impossible to play”
Snigur used his victory speech to talk about the war with Russia in his home country, where his mother remained.
The youngster hasn’t been able to train for the competition at her regular training camp since a bomb destroyed it.
“The situation is bad, of course,” she said. “I try to do my best for Ukraine, I try to support my country.
“It’s not that easy because the war is going on. Sometimes it’s impossible to play, but I try to do my best because I want to live in Ukraine.
“I think people (Ukrainians) enjoyed my game because I have a lot of messages. I didn’t understand what happened. I will try to understand it tomorrow because I think it was best game of my career.”
Other US Open results
Coco Gauff advanced to the second round with a 6-2 6-3 win over Leolia Jeanjean.
Apart from Halep, it was generally a good day for fancy names, with third seed Maria Sakkari avenging her Wimbledon loss to Tatjana Maria with a 6-4 3-6 6-0 win.
Former champion Bianca Andreescu beat Harmony Tan 6-0 3-6 6-1 and Wimbledon runner-up Ons Jabeur started her campaign beating Madison Brengle 7-5 6-2.
Last year’s runner-up Leylah Fernandez reached the second round with a 6-3 6-4 victory over Oceane Dodin while second seed Anett Kontaveit beat Jaqueline Cristian 6-3 6-0.